Bakers need to reimagine their product lines to capture the imagination of consumers in today’s market, said Andrew Brimacombe, chief commercial services officer, Aryzta. However, while consumers are willing to experiment with new flavors, “they like to do it within familiar territory,” he said.
“One of the facts that you just can’t get away from is 90% of consumers had a sandwich within the last week,” Mr. Brimacombe said at a Puratos Taste/Tomorrow conference held Oct. 22-23 in Chicago. “They may go somewhere else to experiment, but they come back to what they know and love.”
Aryzta’s approach involves supplying the market with core products while delving into the periphery when it comes to taste.
“Core is about a Thanksgiving loaf of bread,” Mr. Brimacombe said. “It’s a birthday cake for a child. It’s the bun for a Fourth of July barbecue. Those are the things that drive trips (and) that’s why people go to a bakery. That’s what we think about the core. We also see a periphery as well. You see a lot of experimentation. You see consumers’ passion about a lot of different flavors and opportunities.
“We also see a lot of bleeding in recent times between the core and the periphery,” he added. “People aren’t moving away from sandwiches, but perhaps the breads they are using for those sandwiches are starting to change.”
Mr. Brimacombe noted that Aryzta research shows 82% of consumers are experimenting with new flavors, new concepts and new cultures. As an example, he mentioned the bacon and egg empanada.
“It’s a breakfast staple that’s imagined kind of differently,” he said.
Gluten-free remains a powerful trend. The La Brea Bakery brand, owned by Aryzta, recently entered this market. The brand also ventured into the organic and flatbread markets. Consumers, Mr. Brimacombe said, are searching for different carriers for their sandwiches.
Fresh concepts, such as “take and bake” bread that’s reheated at home, are driving consumers from the center of the store to in-store bakeries and other sections of supermarkets.
Aryzta also expanded its Otis Spunkmeyer line with 20 cookie, cake, muffin and other sweet good products that contain “No Funky Stuff” such as high-fructose corn syrup, artificial ingredients and partially hydrogenated oils, he said. Consumers, Mr. Brimacombe added, are seeking indulgence, but also simpler, cleaner ingredients at the same time or “slightly healthier choices.”
On an operational front, traceability remains a huge issue.
“It’s a hard battle,” Mr. Brimacombe noted. “It’s something that we as an industry need to think carefully about because there is a market for it, and people are prepared to pay premiums.”
Another trend involves mass customization, which involves differentiating a brand by adding unique new products that consumers can afford.
“You heard a lot about this new consumer,” he said. “They’re diverse, they’re connected, they’re engaged, they’re experimental, they’re tremendously busy (and) they’re very sociable. Those trends are just going to accelerate as they get more tools and more connected over time.”